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The Politics of Corn in Focus

Posted: 11/19/13

By: tomgrisafi


Politico reported on Monday that depressed corn prices are having an impact on politics and bills under consideration in state legislatures across the Midwest.

"Indeed," observes journalist David Rogers, "having argued long and hard for a new, more market-oriented approach to farm subsidies, corn growers and their Midwest allies in Congress face the embarrassment of looking like the first in line at the federal window to collect."

As the commodities world witnessed Monday, December 2013 corn futures touched a new low of $4.12 per bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

"This caps a summer long slide aggravated most recently by the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to lower ethanol targets for 2014," Rogers explains. "And it’s now very likely that corn will qualify for assistance next year under the new revenue-protection program that is the mainstay of the Senate’s commodity title. So much so, that if corn were to reach $4 per bushel in 2014, a farmer could double what he now gets in direct cash payments (the current subsidy system that has been widely criticized for being overly expensive)."

The National Corn Growers Association recently gave Politico a comprehensive analysis based on an Illinois farm with a harvested yield of 175 bushels per acre.

"At a $4 per bushel price in 2014," Rogers reveals, "the NCGA’s own numbers show that the farmer would get $53 per acre under the new subsidy structure (twice the $25 per acre he receives in direct payments for the same county)"

The bottom line? Corn could be front and center on the radar of state and local politicians next year.

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